1h 31min | Documentary | 13 October 2017 (USA)
Opening Friday, October 27th at the Alamo Drafthouse Cedars
SYNOPSIS: IFC Midnight presents 78/52, Alexandre O. Phillippe’s unprecedented look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO, the ‘Man behind the curtain’, and the screen murder that profoundly changed the course of world cinema.
The screeching strings, the plunging knife, the slow zoom out from a lifeless eyeball: in 1960, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho changed film history forever with its taboo-shattering shower scene. With 78 camera set-ups and 52 edits over the course of 3 minutes, Psycho redefined screen violence, set the stage for decades of slasher films to come, and introduced a new element of danger to the moviegoing experience. Aided by a roster of filmmakers, critics, and fans-including Guillermo del Toro, Bret Easton Ellis, Jamie Lee Curtis, Eli Roth, and Peter Bogdanovich-director Alexandre O. Philippe pulls back the curtain on the making and influence of this cinematic game changer, breaking it down frame by frame and unpacking Hitchcock’s dense web of allusions and double meanings. The result is an enthralling piece of cinematic detective work that’s nirvana for film buffs.
Review: Like many film lovers I watch Hitchcock’s PSYCHO a few times a year. It has superseded the word “classic” to become something of a how-to for filmmakers. 78/52 is one of many documentaries to examine this immortal production. What is unique about this discussion is how they focus primarily on the shower scene. Some of the best film buffs and movie makers of today chat about each frame and offer some unknown – at least to me- facts about those few moments.
It is safe to say that everyone is fascinated with the brutal murder of Marion Crane (Janet Leigh). That one crime changed cinema forever. The soundtrack, edits, stunt doubles, makeup; everything is scrutinized and lade bare to show that this was no fluke scene. It was more than just many things coming together. It was craftsmanship by a director who had wanted it to do a lot more than just move along a plot line.
Even if you have watched everything imaginable on the man and the movie this is still a must see. I promise you will learn something new and discover elements through the commentary that had alluded you until now. It is unrated but does contain brief adult language, graphic images and brief nudity. I give it 4 out of 5 silhouettes. A fantastic and insightful addition to the PSYCHO world.